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Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: converting sexps to XML

From: Bob McElrath
Subject: Re: [Axiom-developer] Re: converting sexps to XML
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 12:25:06 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.6+20040523i

address@hidden address@hidden wrote:
> Hello Bob,
> On 28 Jun 2005 at 13:26, Bob McElrath wrote:
> > I think these two ideas are very distinct.  A latex document is
> > processed from top to bottom, once.  A change requires essentially a
> > re-compile of the entire document. 
> I don't agree with you on that point : I have devised a software
> (AsTeX assistant) that allows to tune parts of TeX/LateX documents by
> selecting small portions of the document and displaying it without
> compiling the whole document - for example select a formula or part of
> formula, or part of a table - and display only the formula, or part of
> the formula or table or etc.. You have just to select the portion of
> document in your favorite editor (Emacs, or any other editor, even
> Word), click on the Display button of AA, and the selected portion is
> displayed in the dvi viewing window. You can even use predefined
> commands such as \def\g{\gamma} defined outside the selected text
> (say, defined in a special file such as mymacros.tex), or commands
> defined in LaTeX packages. For illustrations, cf.

So you have essentially forced a DOM on top of an otherwise free-form
latex document.

The distiction is that in a free-form latex document I can create an
invalid document.  Using a DOM I must insert only well-formed parts.
(e.g. every \begin{name} must have a corresponding \end{name})

This can be done, and I'm not surprised someone did it because the idea
of a DOM is quite powerful.  However, it is not something tex was
designed to do.  Since tex is a programming language I'm sure there is
some combination of macros I could define in the preamble which would
totally break enforcing your DOM.

On the other hand, XML is *not* a programming language, it is solely a
data structure.  This conforms to the "principle of least power":

(at the bottom).  I ran into that page the other day and found it quite
compelling.  I wouldn't call myself an XML aficionado, but as long as I
don't have to actually *type* an xml document and *type* angle brackets,
I might be able to live with it...and the interface possibilities are
truly stunning.  (I'm going to send some SVG examples and info in a day
or two)

TeX, lisp, and sexps are all turing-complete languages.  Therefore it is
always possible to do *anything at all* in them.

However separating what is data, what is interface, and what does
computation allows our wee human brains to organize effectively.

Bob McElrath [Univ. of California at Davis, Department of Physics]

    "One of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen
    these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding
    fathers used in the great struggle for independence." --Charles A. Beard

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